tv Washington Journal CSPAN August 19, 2014 8:30am-9:16am EDT
perhaps for the democratic senate candidates in tough races. the president doesn't want to do too much to hurt them because he doesn't want to lose the senate. there are these two calculations the white house is making. we thought this would come in august. it is already the leading possibly into september -- bleeding into september. some are saying, let's wait until after election day's a you won't have the same political backlash that hurts democratic candidates. the white house is doing a lot of meetings and try to put together a plan, but they're not quite there yet. host: dan berman with little go, thank you for your time. coming up, we're going to be switching gears and turning our attention to lyndon johnson's vision for great society. atre doing a series looking that every day in the specific legislation that president johnson push.
up next, the public broadcasting act and we will talk with the current president and ceo patricia de stacy harrison. later, medicare and medicaid. first, a news update from c-span radio. >> here's a story from the associated press on the situation in missouri. they write "when racial tensions erupted midway through his first presidential campaign, barack obama came to philadelphia to decry the "racial stalemate we've been stuck in for years." over time, he said such wounds rooted in america's painful history on race can be healed." six years later, the still may summon seems more entrenched than ever as president obama calm andr understanding of ferguson, missouri, struggling to determine what role, if any, the nation's first black president can play diffusing a crisis that has laid bare the profound sense
of justice is felt by african-americans across the country." from the associated press. there's international view on the situation also this morning. "the washington post" tweeted earlier that egypt is urging the united states to use restraint in dealing with unrest in ferguson. armed groups in syria reportedly have several hundred portable antiaircraft missiles that could be diverted to extremists and used to shoot down low-flying commercial planes. this according to a new report by the associated press says it is respected international research group. the report cites the risk that missiles could be smuggled out of syria by terrorists. the report was released just hours after the federal aviation administration issued a notice yesterday to u.s. airlines banning all flights in syrian airspace. the agency says armed extremists
in syria are "known to be equipped with a variety of antiaircraft weapons which affect capability to threaten civilian aircraft." the agency approves the warned against flights or syria but had not prohibited them. the world health organization says more than half of the 2200 people sickened by the ebola outbreak in west africa have died. authorities have struggled to contain the outbreak which started in guinea and as fred to liberia, sera lyons, and nigeria . officials warned the travel restrictions sometimes covered food deliveries. the death toll stands at more than 1200. the national museum of american history in washington is expanding the smithsonian collection documenting the history of gay, lesbian, transgender people. hundreds of photographs, papers, and historical objects are being added including items from the popular tv show "will and grace." it is part of a larger effort to document a lesbian history.
those are some of the latest headlines. here's a great read to add your summer reading list. a collection of stories from some of the most influence people in the past 25 years. for i always knew there was a risk in the bohemian national and i decided to take it. whether it is an illusion or not -- i don't think it is -- it helped my concentration. it stopped raining and softcover people going to some extent. the fundingped board and other people from foreign, to some extent. and i was asked if i would do it again, the answer is probably, yes. say, of course.
if iunds irresponsible say, yeah, i would do it all again to you. the truth is, it would be hypocritical for me to say otherwise. i did know. everyone knows. containediet union seas of its own destruction. many of the problems we saw at the end to be at the very beginning. i spoke already about the attempt to control all institutions and control all parts of the economy and political life and social life. one of the problems is, when you do that, when you try to control everything, then you create opposition and potential dissidents everywhere. if you tell all artists they have to paint the same way and says, no, i don't want to do that way, you have just made him into a political dissident. >> if you want to subsidize housing in this country and we want to talk about it and the populace agrees that it is something we should subsidize, then put it on the balance sheet. make it clear and make it evident and make everybody aware
of how much it is costing. but when you deliver it through these third-party enterprises -- fannie mae and freddie mac -- when you deliver the subsidies through a public company with private shareholders and executives who can extract a lot of that subsidy for themselves, that is not a very good way of subsidizing homeownership. a few of the 41 engaging stories in "sundays at eight." host: all this week on "the washington journal" where looking at lyndon johnson's vision for great society. that he'll by bill. look at the public broadcasting act of 1967. joining us this morning for that discussion is the president and ceo of the corporation for public broadcasting patricia de stacy harrison.
let's begin with what is going on in the 1960's that president johnson feels the need for the public broadcasting act? guest: as we look back at that you're a, so much was erupting. i think it was a very aspirational time. it is interesting to compare today in terms of media with what was going on then. so you had the era where americans are feeling perhaps the focus on education needs to be stronger in a competitive way. then you have the chairman of addressing the association of broadcasters and talking to them as commercial television is failing the country, not focused on education by providing basically what he termed that famous phrase, content that is creating
a vast wasteland for americans. so there was this drumbeat. in the meantime, you have the carnegie corporation and networking with educators and also working with educational television broadcasters who really want a system. they want interconnection. butr focused on education, it is very disorganized to a certain extent. so there is a drumbeat to do something about this. the commission had an interesting group of people, educators, but they also had lyndon johnson's soon-to-be secretary of health education and welfare pushing for public broadcasting system. even before the commission released the report recommending that the government create a nonprofit, nongovernmental corporation for public broadcasting that would receive and disburse friends, the
president of the united states has public broadcasting really has a role in american life -- not only american life, but globally, and to raise the level of education. so we have almost a perfect aboutof people concerned the quality of content. you have to think about television, this new, exciting vehicle and people are worried it is being misused or not used in an optimum way. host: here's what president johnson had to say on the day he signed the public broadcasting act. give a wider and i think stronger voice to educational, radio and television by providing new funds for broadcast facilities."
what is the corporation of public broadcasting? guest: it is all of that. let me go back to 1961 briefly. you have this astonishing letter that eb white, the wonderful author, wrote to actually the president but also the head of the carnegie commission. basically, so excited about the process that does prospect of public broadcasting. he said, this could be our minsky's. in other words, it isn't just
this highbrow focus. it is going to provide content that informs and educates and entertains at all levels so that when you consume this content, you're better off for it. and that has been the mission of the corporation for public broadcasting. the first and foremost in the very beginning, our job is to be stewar word of these -- of these funds. how do disperse the funding? guest: it is very interesting because unlike and every single country throughout the world, public media funding in this country is uniquely american and entrepreneurial. a most fulfilling what ronald reagan said that government should provide the spark and the private sector should do the work or the rest. and for 40 plus years, that has
been, i think, the best example of the public/private partnership. so the funding we receive from the federal government is very strictly allocated in terms of what cpb can do with it. approximately 90% of our funding goes to stations and some producers and film makers, and , 70%the remainder of that goes to television and 12 5% to radio -- and 25% to radio. our admin administration budget is capped. that is not the whole story. it is very complicated construct. so the money goes to stations in the form of community service grants, and they use that in a variety of levels. but in order for them to get that grant from cpb, they have
to raise a certain amount of nonfederal funds. what this means is, they're constantly having to connect to their own community. it is almost a report card. and the community response or doesn't respond. basically, with variations poor,ing on stations in areas or suburban areas, stations raise six times the amount of the original federal investments. so our budget for let's say an average station would be approximately 15%. they have to raise 85%. it is an amazing system. recently i was part of a conference with international public media broadcasters and they were astounded because they are all funded by the government. cost to support
$80, 80 five dollars. in this country, can you take a guess what it is? it is under $1.35. host: the expense to the taxpayer? guest: yes. , let's use that as the means, you have what i think is a golden passport for content for free and commercial free for your children, lifelong learning from the very youngest to the very oldest. it is sort of the virtuous circle, i think, of proven value delivered to the mac and people. host: we're talking with the present ceo does president and ceo of cpb. in that position since 2005. we're talking about the act of
1967 under president johnson's vision for so-called great society. thatis the agency disburses funds for pbs, npr, other public broadcasting. we want to get your thoughts and comments and questions. you can also send us an e-mail or send us a tweet. take a look at cpb's appropriations history from your website dating back to 1969, appropriated $5 million in that year. guest: it was a controversy from the beginning. host: what was the debate like? guest: it is who we are as a people. are the most part, this idea that government should not be in the broadcasting business, fear
that connection between government and journalism. so the funding was much less than the act wanted. i do believe that even though it is a very complicated system, that public media over the years the recent it is so vibrant and relevant today is because of that report card that the federal government insisted on. so i would not say to placate, but to address the issue and address the concerns, we are funded at a specific level and the rest of the money comes from other sources -- the community, major funders, foundations. it is this partnership. but we need the federal funding to really strengthen public media. in 2014. my dollars -- 445 my in dollars and 2014. what costs that much? guest: content, technology.
isould like to say our value evergreen, but we have always been committed to connecting with the american people in ways they are now accessing media. so we are now on air, which is very important, especially in an so much.cable costs so many families cannot afford cable. this is for free and commercial-free. whereso, we have a system people are demeaning more and , that is measured and evaluated, especially in the educational sphere. so unlike commercial television, which certainly provides children's programming, we invest a lot of money into educational research. so we are actually teaching the young child how to read, how to get ready for school -- math,
science. we would measure it. we evaluate it. how do you know this program is working as opposed to some other? we have educators. it is a constant focus, not on the bottom line and selling anything, but to providing content that really does enhance the lives of each american at every single level. wherever they come from, whatever their background. we belong to the merrick and people. that is what the funding goes for. host: let's get our viewers involved. new hampshire, republican caller. caller: very nice. atden was perfectly correct that time going on in all, it was an affirmative action. we have a complete record of day-to-day of every day that came and went through the corporations and the library of congress. there is a copy of every thing
that happened on that radio show every day. just check in the library of congress records and you will come up with the exact show. it is perfect. thank you. host: so you think it is a good thing? the corporation for public broadcasting is a good thing? caller: certainly. we're still alive, aren't we, in a plutonium age? host: what do you make of that? guest: americans always have an opinion about everything. in the case of public media, the andic -- republicans democrats support as wholeheartedly. for the 11th consecutive year, pbs has been voted, judged, pulled most trustworthy organization second only to the military. of newsstworthy source
and information. and also, the most trustworthy by teachers -- especially preschool teachers. when you're providing a safe place where children can learn, what i like to do is look back to the 1960's before the internet, before we even had this democratization of technology and the understanding you want your child to be able to learn without being sold something. nowakes even more sense where your child can have access to all kinds of things that may not be positive and helpful. a public media is that oasis for parents. republican caller. caller: good morning. cured towardless the radio aspect -- more or less
i am geared to the radio aspect of it. is, i lovepoint clack, i listen to the mall. the nonpolitical shows are great. all the political shows that you have, though, are far left wing. they cover almost everyone covers three subjects. andal warming, racism, homosexuality stuff. host: that's get a response to that. guest: thank you for being an avid listener. in fact, npr right now is growing so much. they had over 35 million listeners. this is not even counting online a week. your point that you're making has been made and sometimes has continued to be made by a lot of
people. -- when reason, cpb has people call or write or e-mail and they have a complaint, let's they feel both sides were different sites have not been represented. we collect those responses. i would advise you to e-mail us and we provide this to congress. we provide a report to congress. it is independent. we also funded an editorial integrity project. stations themselves have agreed to a code of professional editorial integrity. nothing is perfect. we human beings doing our best. it belongs to all american people. it doesn't belong to one party
on the left or the right. it is sure american public media. if you have concerns, let us know. . host: here is a tweet -- let me add to that, corporate sponsorship. guest: it is all viewer supported. corporate sponsorship has a lot of strings attached to it. i will give you an example. cook on publicus television. she is not allowed to have a bottle of olive oil that she uses -- she may be using this at home or everywhere else -- where the label is shown to the public. there are so many strict guidelines about corporate sponsorship. host: and they come from where, the guidelines? guest: from pbs and on the other side, npr. just as the caller called before, there is concern --
appropriate concern that we never filed late the trust that the american people have placed in us over the past decades. and the reason why we haven't is because people are very, very serious about our integrity and about what we are putting forth either on air or online. that has been the debate. in march 2011, you saw that debate openly on the house floor and in the congress, republicans saying -- calling the corporation for public broadcasting nonessential government services. let's take a look at that debate. guest: do we have to? host: and we will hear from colorado republican. [video clip] >> the point at issue is not the quality or content of public programming or the degree to which americans support the arts, ritter news and educational programs. the point today is whether government programs and services
that can't be funded privately or otherwise available in the private sector should receive taxpayer funding. apart from constitutional concerns as a country, we no longer have this luxury anymore. with the national debt over $13 trillion, the government cannot fund nonessential services. host: mrs. harrison, why do taxpayers have to provide funding? guest: first of all, these are not nonessential services. the second thing is, in terms of the deficit, we represent 1/10 0th of 1%. i do believe the honorable gentleman has since walked back his strong opinion. the fact is we provide a service that could not be provided without the help of the federal government. it is not 100 percent help, as i said before. this is a great partnership.
we have been very responsible about holding up our end, ensuring the funds do not just come from the backs of taxpayers. from $445 million taxpayers. what is your operating budget in total? guest: cpb does not raise money, so this is our total funding for public media. were talking about the corporation for public broadcasting. host: for pbs, npr? guest: those are separate. host: on average percentagewise, how much are they getting from taxpayers versus corporations? guest: out of this performing television andto 25% to radio. pbs is a membership organization. npr is a membership organization. so they raise funds host: they chargedues? guest: they do, and some of our
community service grants have money so they can pay dues. it is a circle of strength, i like to view it that way. there are very, very different organizations in the sense they are standalone, even though cpb formed pbs in 1968, 1969 in around 1970, npr. so they have their own ceos and board of directors. host: sally, democratic caller. caller: i will tell you, i am so thrilled with this whole program. i am 89 years old. if i did not have public ilevision, i don't know what would do. i did of been the morning and i watch and from 8:00 until sometimes 9:00 or 10:00 at night. with the book
television is fabulous. i just can't say enough about it because this is all i can ever watch. let the other programs are so terrible. -- all of the other programs are so terrible. i wish i could give more money so you could be held more than you are now. is last thing i have to say i did not realize how much president johnson did for this country. this this morning from you. i did not know. these did not like him because he swore a lot and everything. if i did not have public television, i could not be learning. i feel like i am in school for practically the whole day because of public television. thank you, thank you, thank you. host: all right, sally. leading up to president johnson signature on this act, and after, what happened with public
broadcasting? guest: well, we began -- it was a short period of time from started68, 1969, we disbursing funds to stations. we did invest in interconnection. we created the system. as i said, it was a couple of years later that pbs was created and then npr. the reason for that is that cpb does not create content. we do not own the stations. that is another really good step back to ensure that government doesn't get involved. there are so many really good, i think, caveats to what we can do and what we can't do.
our high school graduation rate is 80 percent. and i want to credit america's public radio and television stations for telling the stories of the teachers, dropouts, and the people helping these kids graduate. host: tom in texas. caller: i just want to say that even one penny of taxpayer money is going to fund pbs and npr. and it's not because they're invested with nothing but militant leftists, a penny of taxpayer money shouldn't go to them no matter who controls. host: what are you saying? it's controlled by anti-americans? caller: it's controlled by hard-lined leftists.
host: okay. patricia de stacy? guest: people have different opinions. there are people who believe that government shouldn't fund a lot of things. all i can say is the proven value over decades has resulted in a positive for this country. host: how does the board work? guest: the board is appointed by the president of the united states, confirmed by the senate. it's a nine-member board. and no more than five members can be from any one party. really, when they created the public broadcasting act, they had this debate. as a result, they looked at just about everything. right now, we have a board
coming from many different places, republicans, democrats, but they all have a love for public media. host: rob in alabama. caller: good morning. it is an extreme left-wing organization. yet, people hired simply because they don't -- the -- i don't want npr funded by public money anymore than i want rush limbaugh funded by public money. guest: that opinion is out there. but really going back to our mission and how we have kept to this, nowhere does it say political point of view.
it says that it should be content that informs. we're doing that. that educates. we have measurement in that. that entertains. entertains in a way that goes beyond learns about the kardashian and various other things. so the $1.35 that each taxpayer contributes to support this is probably the best value that any american is getting out of their taxpayer dollar other than the military. host: do producers check content to deapproximate depoliticize it? guest: we do not do that. we have a code of ethics. things don't just show up with a point of view without a lot --
you know, one of the big complaints is it takes a long time for things to get funded through cpb because at the time everybody looks at everything, that poor filmmaker is getting ready for retirement. but it's all good because it's being responsible for money that comes from average americans. host: here's a conservative take. the writer says the current rate of funding, cpb would take in five to 6 billion from americans over the next decades. it's not huge but it's a small piece of the entire pie that could be cut. but could they replace their funding? maybe start advertising. given the success of their programming, raising dollars in this capacity should not be difficult.
on their website, they have a page about their large audiences. not only does pbs score big in the children's market, but they have huge funding in prime time as well. the funding would be there. guest: that's a good argument. the reason i know it doesn't is congress a couple of years ago -- dive into different funding for public funding. it didn't just come from within cpb. the bottom line is that if public media did not receive federal funding, it would soon become commercial media. rural stations could not add content without commercials. also, in terms of raising money, there's no way that that amount
of money to sustain an available, vibrant, really worthy public media service would be along the public media, it wasn't sustainable. we appeared before congress. we have this report. if anyone would like to have it, i can provide it. but it was such a deep dive that it really put to rest the idea that public media could exist without the federal appropriation. it would also change the nature of the service to americans of -- especially underserved audiences and unserved audiences. host: are those reports on your website? guest: yes. host: so cpb.org. jack from new hampshire. caller: i can't resist saying
when i heard ms. harrison say that pbs is the second most trusted institution second only to the military and the question leaping to my mind is why do we trust the military. let me get to my point. we keep hearing television, commercial television, referred to as the vast wasteland. but my memory goes back because i'm old, prior to that, and i remember some really good quality television that was on in what was sometimes called the golden age of television. i remember my mother saying -- that was all on commercial television. i think the idea that commercial television is inherently capable
of giving us quality television is not true. at the same time, when i turn on pbs these days, i find retro rock and roll shows and lawrence welch which i think is away from the tradition of public television. and i wonder why you can't give us more live entertainment. or, you know, live variety shows like prairie home companion. why can't we also have more american productions. host: all right. thank you. guest: i love this call because i agree with everything. i can't speak for pbs, but they are looking to announce pretty soon something much more american focused because as
popular as "downton abbey" is because i received a call from a character who was killed off asking why he was killed off. but you're right, it was the golden age of television. but what happened is it became more and more expensive to attract viewers. i have a lot of commercial television in my life. the problem is they're driven by the bottom line. so a ken burns, if you're watching the civil war, you don't want it interrupted by a commercial. this is an oasis. it should not be a question of should it be commercial. it's not that. what commercial the fact is --
the fact is, we have cable and cable costs money and a lot of the wonderful dramas today, i love "mad men", you have to pay for it and it's a lot. so we're really an oasis of people who can't pay or those who can but choose to watch public television. but i agree with you on more drama and live events. let me just say something about the late lawrence welk -- guest: we're the steward of the appropriation. your job is to get the money in an appropriate way to stations,
filmmakers, and then we step back. host: you are not involved in the content? guest: no. but i would like to see an american version of "downton abbey." host: patricia de stacy from the corporation for public broadcasting. this dolores in maryland. caller: good morning. i love your show. i remember back in 1983 when there was this ruckus about trying to demolish pbs
broadcasting and i appealed to my congress to please not get rid of public broadcasting. that's crazy. it's free information for everyone. it doesn't matter who you are. information about everything. as a child, i remember seseme street, electric company. so it would be a shame to all of president johnson's initiatives to have free broadcasting for everyone. that's one point. so keep up the good work. although i'm worried about -- i've been listening lately to the heritage foundation but i won't get into that. i just don't agree with them. but i guess everyone has to have their opinion. host: all right. let me hear from greg next in idaho. caller: good morning. host: good morning. caller: thank you c-span.
pbs and npr, not so much. you pretty much summed it up in your mission statement, they're clearly -- you wanted to talk with all the 88 year olds who agreed with you. and i think that's what pbs and npr are all about. i watch the news hour every evening after watching c-span all day. and you put it in a format where there seems to be a debate. it's all left leaning. and i would like to echo some of the previous callers. host: have you ever gone to the corporation for public broadcasting's website where they report to congress about the studies that they've done, the research that they've done into their content? the content of npr and pbs, et cetera. caller: i have not. for years, i was a contributor,
a dues-paying member. and they have just become so left leaning, it's very difficult. host: okay. all right. what about this perception? guest: i take it very seriously. the reason i enjoy talking to folks is it's wonderful to hear that somebody is getting something of value and it's making a difference in their life. that's a positive story. equally, i do respect these views and we work very, very hard to ensure that no one group or ideology owns public media. so i think within a day of listening and viewing, there are things you will like and things you won't like. but we try for ultimate